Last week, there was a very lively discussion going on in the Fanpost section regarding the Hurricanes potential fourth line. In relation to this, I recently came across an article over at "Copper and Blue" which disclosed the team by team average "time on ice" results for each club's forward lines last season.
Lines were determined by comparing each forward's even strength average "time on ice", then separating them into lines from top to bottom, (1-3, 4-6, 7-9. 10-15.) Keep in mind that this is not an exact science and things like injuries and trades can play havoc with the results. Still, the individual time on ice results tend to match with what the Hurricanes were doing in the second half of the season last year and give a pretty good indication of how many minutes the fourth line was playing.
When compared to other teams, the Hurricanes fourth line averaged playing 10:13 minutes per game, the eighth highest amount in the league. The Colorado Avalanche fourth line had the lowest number at 6.90 minutes per game while the Montreal Canadiens came in first at 11:37.
The chart with the results is at this link.
After the jump, we'll take a look at the top 15 forwards even strength average ice time last season for the Canes.
- Eric Staal 15:40
- Ray Whitney 15:07
- Erik Cole 13:35
- Chad LaRose 13:28
- Matt Cullen 13:25
- Tuomo Ruutu 13:20
- Jussi Jokinen 13:10
- Brandon Sutter 12:54
- Jiri Tlusty 11:41
- Sergei Samsonov 11:05
- Drayson Bowman 10:28
- Patrick Dwyer 10:20
- Rod Brind`Amour 10:12
- Tom Kostopoulos 10:12
- Zach Boychuk 10:02
Perhaps the time was split a bit more evenly than some thought? Will the fourth line this coming season play fewer or more minutes than last season?
Speaking of the Copper and Blue, they also recently published an interesting article entitled "Best Forwards in the NHL, Normalizing the Corsi". We have not delved into Corsi numbers much here. Some consider them to be relevant and important, others not so much. Here is a definition of what they are by "Hockey Numbers".
Corsi number is the number of shots directed towards the net while the player is on the ice. The number can be broken down into whose net the shots are directed towards (their own net (-) and their opponent's net (+)) similar to the plus minus statistic. The hope of course is that the Corsi plus minus would correlate well with the regular plus minus, but because the numbers will be 16x larger than plus minus numbers they'll be about 4x more accurate than the plus minus numbers.
In essence, the rating measures even strength shots on goal, for and against. The higher the number, the better the player.
Derek Zona compiled the last three years of Corsi results, then incorporated in a "tough competition" factor, and came up with what he calls a "Normalized Corsi" statistic. This takes the Corsi numbers for each player while they are on the ice versus the opposition's toughest competition.
In Derek's results, Pavel Datsyuk came in first, Henrik Zetterberg was number two, and Eric Staal came in third.
It's surprising that Alexander Ovechkin did not finish in the top 10, especially considering he leads the league in shots on goal every year, but it must mean that other teams also have a lot of shots on goal when he is on the ice.
Regardless, it's a good stat for Staal who does have to face the NHL's best, night in and night out.